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Reconciling VAR-based and Narrative Measures of the Tax-Multiplier

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  • Carlo A. Favero
  • Francesco Giavazzi

Abstract

The currently available empirical evidence shows remarkable differences between various estimates of the effects on U.S output of an exogenous shift in Federal tax liabilities. Shocks identified via the narrative method, imply a multiplier of about three over . an horizon of three years. Tax shocks identified in fiscal VAR models deliver a much smaller multipier of about one. Is this heterogeneity real, or is it simply the result of different approaches to the identification of exogenous shifts in taxes? Or of different specifications of the empirical model used to estimate the tax multiplier? In this paper we reconcile this apparently contradictory evidence by showing that the large multiplier obtained via the narrative identification methods are generated by the choice of a limited information approach in their estimation and not by the different nature of the shocks. Using the shocks identified by a Narrative methods in a multivariate dynamic model delivers estimates of the tax multiplier very much in line with those obtained in the traditional fiscal VAR approach.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlo A. Favero & Francesco Giavazzi, 2010. "Reconciling VAR-based and Narrative Measures of the Tax-Multiplier," Working Papers 361, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  • Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:361
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Burnside, Craig & Eichenbaum, Martin & Fisher, Jonas D. M., 2004. "Fiscal shocks and their consequences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 89-117, March.
    2. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Robert Vigfusson, 2007. "Assessing Structural VARs," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2006, Volume 21, pages 1-106 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 2004. "A Critique of Structural VARs Using Real Business Cycle Theory," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000518, UCLA Department of Economics.
    4. Morten O. Ravn & Karel Mertens, 2008. "The Aggregate Effects of Anticipated and Unanticipated U.S. Tax Policy Shocks: Theory and Empirical Evidence," 2008 Meeting Papers 575, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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    6. Bagliano, Fabio C. & Favero, Carlo A., 1999. "Information from financial markets and VAR measures of monetary policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 825-837, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:mes:emfitr:v:52:y:2016:i:8:p:1910-1921 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Tommaso Monacelli & Roberto Perotti & Antonella Trigari, 2013. "Taxes and the Labor Market," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series,in: Luis Felipe Céspedes & Jordi Galí (ed.), Fiscal Policy and Macroeconomic Performance, edition 1, volume 17, chapter 2, pages 27-58 Central Bank of Chile.
    3. Jeffrey Clemens & Stephen Miran, 2012. "Fiscal Policy Multipliers on Subnational Government Spending," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 46-68, May.
    4. António Afonso & Jaromír Baxa & Michal Slavík, 2018. "Fiscal developments and financial stress: a threshold VAR analysis," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 54(2), pages 395-423, March.
    5. Nicolas Carnot & Francisco de Castro, 2015. "The Discretionary Fiscal Effort: An Assessment of Fiscal Policy and Its Output Effect," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 215(4), pages 63-94, December.
    6. Jocelyn Boussard & Francisco de Castro & Matteo Salto, 2012. "Fiscal Multipliers and Public Debt Dynamics in Consolidations," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 460, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    7. Ryan Chahrour & Stephanie Schmitt-Grohé & Martín Uribe, 2012. "A Model-Based Evaluation of the Debate on the Size of the Tax Multiplier," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 28-45, May.
    8. Matteo Fragetta & Emanuel Gasteiger, 2014. "Fiscal Foresight, Limited Information and the Effects of Government Spending Shocks," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 76(5), pages 667-692, October.
    9. Karel Mertens & Morten O. Ravn, 2011. "Technology-Hours Redux: Tax Changes and the Measurement of Technology Shocks," NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(1), pages 41-76.
    10. Andrea Tafuro, 2015. " The Effects of Fiscal Policy on Employment: an Analysis of the Aggregate Evidence," Working Papers 2015: 03, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
    11. Florian Wöhlbier & Caterina Astarita & Gilles Mourre, 2014. "Consolidation on the revenue side and growth-friendly tax structures: an indicator based approach," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 513, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    12. Riera-Crichton, Daniel & Vegh, Carlos A. & Vuletin, Guillermo, 2016. "Tax multipliers: Pitfalls in measurement and identification," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 30-48.
    13. Roel Beetsma & Massimo Giuliodori, 2011. "The Effects of Government Purchases Shocks: Review and Estimates for the EU," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(550), pages 4-32, February.
    14. Jorge Puig, 2014. "Multiplicador del gasto público en Argentina," Económica, Departamento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, vol. 60, pages 188-210, January-D.
    15. Bernd Hayo & Matthias Uhl, 2015. "Regional effects of federal tax shocks," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 343-360, October.
    16. repec:clp:wpaper:wp1 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. repec:nbr:nberch:13350 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Roberto Perotti, 2010. "The Effects of Tax Shocks on Output: Not So Large, But Not Small Either," NBER Chapters,in: Trans-Atlantic Public Economics Seminar (TAPES), Fiscal Policy, pages 214-237 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Perotti, Roberto, 2011. "The Effects of Tax Shocks on Output: Not So Large, But Not Small Either," CEPR Discussion Papers 8252, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H60 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - General

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